Article

Style, Wit, Prosody in The Poetry of John Donne

Albert C. Labriola

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199218608
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199218608.013.0058

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Style, Wit, Prosody in The Poetry of John Donne

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Style, wit, and prosody in the poetry of John Donne are the focus of this article. Whether sermons, poems, or letters, but not formal critical commentary, Donne provides brief remarks on poetry. At times the process of inference and interpretation is not unlike reading one of Donne's poems. Considerations of figurative language, irony, paradox, the use of a persona that may or may not be autobiographical, tonal range, and the like — all come into play even when engaging Donne's remarks on poetry. The currents and cross-currents of Donne's views on poetry provide a context for understanding whether his writings are harsh, obscure, or merely witty, and unrhythmical. The numerous elegies praising Donne imply that his poems were unique among English authors. While citing his iconoclastic style of composition, singular wit, and irregular prosody, the elegists note that Donne's talent is not only singular but also inimitable.

Keywords: style; wit; prosody; sermons; critical commentary; figurative language; irregular prosody; iconoclastic; elegies

Article.  6205 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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